After leading the New York Knicks past the Indiana Pacers in the 1994 Eastern Conference Finals, Patrick Ewing faced a challenge unlike any other as the Knicks faced the Rockets in the NBA Finals. Fans were drawn in by the match-up of Ewing and Hakeem Olajuwon, two of the most dominant, intimidating centers of the era.
On June 17, 1994, the Rockets and Knicks met in Game 5. Hakeem Olajuwon led the game in scoring with 27 points, but it wasn’t quite enough to stop New York. Patrick Ewing exploded with 25 points and 12 rebounds, racking up a double-double on the night. Furthermore, Ewing swatted 8 shots, which tied an NBA Finals block record. The only other players in history to achieve the mark were Bill Walton, Shaquille O’Neal, and Ewing’s opponent, Hakeem Olajuwon. New York took Game 5 with a final score of 91-84, but the Rockets bounced back, winning the next two games and capturing the 1994 NBA Championship.
Despite New York’s heartbreaking best-of-seven loss, this was one of the most successful periods of Patrick Ewing’s career. After a stint with adidas, Ewing had launched his own brand, Ewing Athletics. In the ’94 playoffs, he wore the Ewing Image, which featured an inner bootie for a snug fit and plenty of ventilation. While there’s no word yet on a re-release of the Image model, Ewing Athletics has slated a retro of the Ewing Focus for June 29th.